Tuesday, February 9, 2010


It's that kind of day at this the time of the year when I hunker down and get glued to the DVD player. Or go to the movies. So much of my inspiration comes from film - the black and white variety - but I'll watch anything as long as I see it from the beginning. To me it's important to see the START of the film which, like a prologue in a novel, is integral to the oncoming story. In Annie Hall Woody Allen meets Diane Keaton at a screening of the Sorrow and the Pity. She's arrived late in a taxi from her analyst appointment. Woody has seen the film countless times. But going to buy the ticket, they realize the film's started. 'It's ruined,' Woody moans, 'We've missed the beginning.'

In case you're snowed in, or hunkering down in the cold instead of in Rio dancing with your samba school here's a smattering of films on my 'must see once in your life if you haven't' list.'

Numero Uno
The Third Man
Post war rubbled Vienna, incredible sewer scenes, Orson Welles a screenplay by Graham Greene...nuff said
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The Tin Drum
Volker Schlondorff's gripping film of Gunter Grass' massive tome with humor, understated pathos and that dang little tin drum deserves a watch every year

Zazie dans le Metro
It's 50's Paris, the Metro is on strike and little Zazie from the countryside is bound and determined to live her dream - ride the Metro - or cause havoc trying. She causes havoc but a young Philippe Noiret almost steals the film and that cabaret scene still mystifies me.

Two For the Road - Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, a sportscar involved, 70's Europe and poignant relationship
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Two Way Stretch
Early brilliant Peter Sellers, a lad caper and watch out for the giant zucchini

Big Deal on Madonna Street - young Marcello Mastrionni whose wife goes to prison and he minds the kids, engineers the bank heist and cooks the pasta
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Watch this video on VideoSurf or see more Big Deal On Madonna Videos or Mario Monicelli Videos

The Army of Shadows gripping performances by Lino Ventura + Simone Signoret in Melville's classic based Joseph Kessel WWII Resistance novel

Monsieur Hulot's Holiday - the Jacques Tati masterpiece because my father made me watch this film ad nauseum while growing up and now I insist you do...it's a classic without words and funniest tennis game scene filmed ever.

Snippets from 7 French films classics

Charade -
Mancini's music, Audrey Hepburn in Givenchy, suave Cary Grant and set in Paris what more can one want? Taking away the glamor, the great villains and setting (not that you want to) the screenplay and plot are quite brilliant. Hiding in plain sight and I still forget every time I see it. And the shoot out under the shadowy arcades of Palais Royal called me...years later I now strangle a character there.

Cara - Tuesday


  1. Cara,

    Thanks for providing we who have no chance of making it to the Samba Schools' extravaganza with a consolation prize: movies to watch while Leighton lives the life. Thanks:)

  2. Fantastic choices! Many new ones to me (the French ones), and I love a person who loves Cary Grant and Joseph Cotten! It's interesting to see Albert Finney so young, and Peter Sellers was a master at his craft.

    Fun days of movie watching while snowed in! But my children dictate the movies in our house on those days...I have pulled out the classics on them: Sword & The Stone, Snow White, Pete's Dragon. Trust me, it's a giant leap away from Barbie's Princess & the Pauper!

    Writing Prompt Wednesdays today on my blog!

  3. Those are great choices. Let me add a few:

    Fanny and Alexander, Bergman at his most magical and most heartbreaking, but with a -- believe it or not -- happy ending. Sort of.

    "Children of Paradise," shot in Paris, under the noses of the Nazis, sublime and timeless.

    "The Lady Eve," Preston Sturges! Barbara Stanwyck! Henry Fonda! A snake!

    "Sherlock, Jr.," in which Buster Keaton anticipates everything everyone will do for the next 60 years and makes you laugh, too.

    "Project A" -- brilliantly incomprehensible story in which Jackie Chan channels Buster Keaton into the martial arts genre with astonishing results.

    Gosh, this is fun.